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Friday, 17 July 2020


Available for freelance writing commissions on a variety of subjects including family history, nostalgic Belfast and its famous people, shops, shoppers & shopping (40 years in retailing), the golden age of Hollywood (including westerns) and humorous pieces on life's weird and wonderful. Op-eds, columns, non-fiction book reviews too. & @JoeCushnan

I have a portfolio of features, reviews, poetry and short fiction published in all sorts of places - Belfast Telegraph, Tribune, Ireland's Own, Dalhousie Review, Fairlight Books, Reader's Digest, Reality, Lapwing Poetry, Ink, Sweat & Tears, Spillwords, Dear Reader, Amethyst Review, to name a selection.  Oh, and the odd BBC radio contribution. I wrote a book on retailing, on dealing with job losses and a biography of Stephen Boyd.

This is a series of very short items that have nothing to do with the current news agenda.  Swift diversions for a moment or two.

Apropos of Nothing #88 – 17 July 1899

Actor, singer and dancer, James Francis Cagney was born on 17 July, 1899.

He was one of the most distinctive screen stars playing tough guys, vaudeville characters and comedy in a varied career, starting in 1930 and ending in 1984, although there were long gaps in his last two decades.

On top of his game, he was mesmerising, fast-talking and energetic.

Some of his films linger long in the memory – Angels with Dirty Faces (1938), The Roaring Twenties (1939), White Heat (1949), Love Me or Leave Me (1955), Mister Roberts (1955), and his Academy Award-winning role as George M. Cohan in Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942).

He was terrific in the 1961 comedy One, Two, Three, directed by Billy Wilder.

James Cagney died at 86 on 30 March, 1986.

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